Friday, January 7, 2011

Soup feeds the body, words feed the soul...

Blustery and cold, highs in the 30's...I'm needing something to warm me up from the inside out! We are soup lovers and I have several I make on a regular basis. If I told you we eat healthy, I'd be stretching the truth, but it's much easier if the meal is soup and bread of some sort.

The Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread A Country Inn Cookbook (now out of print, but you can find it HERE) shares not only recipes but the life of talented author Crescent Dragonwagon. The Dairy Hollow House was a favorite restaurant for many and a memorable stay for those who had the pleasure of visiting the Eureka Springs, Arkansas Inn she and her late husband Ned owned. The author of 40 books; cookbooks, children's book and novels, her unique style of writing is shared with Fearless Writing Workshops.

Tomato & Potato Cheddar Soup w/Beer
From “Soup & Bread, A Country Inn Cookbook” by Crescent Dragonwagon
Cooking spray
2 cups beer or ale
5 or 6 large all-purpose potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 cups, approximately, any well-flavored chicken or vegetable stock, or just plain spring water
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or mild vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery with leaves, chopped
1 medium carrot, scrubbed or peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and put through a garlic press or finely chopped
5 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped, or one (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes with their juice, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tamari/shoyu soy sauce or to taste
2 teaspoons Pickapeppa or Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream or evaporated skim milk (this is 1/2 of a pint carton)
Tabasco or similar hot pepper sauce to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard of cream
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1. Spray a large heavy pot with cooking spray and in it pour the beer. Add the potatoes and enough stock or spring water to cover. Add the bay leaves, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and let simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it starts to soften, about three minutes. Add the celery, carrot and garlic; sauté five minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, and soy and Pickapeppa or Worcestershire sauces. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and the mixture is a thick paste, 10-20 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture; cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the cream, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until smooth and thick. Season with the hot pepper sauce and dry mustard. Remove bay leaves.
3. Stir the cream mixture into the soup pot. Turn down the heat so that the liquid barely simmers and stir in the cheese. Cook, stirring often, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are falling-apart tender, about 20 minutes. Keep the heat very, very low and stir often, for the soup will want to stick. If possible, let the soup sit a couple of hours before reheating and serving. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with the parsley. Serves 6 to 8 as an entree.
Printable Recipe

 This cookbook has it all in black and white, the division of Northern and Southern Cornbread recipes! Written down, for us to decide..... for ourselves the best, white or yellow cornmeal, sugar or no sugar. Cast iron skillet or corn stick, all here just waiting to be read and then a recipe a day would take us to...July 19th! That's a lot of cornbread...start with this one!

Dairy Hollow House Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread
From The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon
Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat over the 375F. Coat a 10-inch skillet with cooking spray.
2. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
3. Stir baking soda into buttermilk in a small bowl. Whisk in sugar, egg and oil.
4. Place prepared skillet over medium heat; add butter. Heat until butter melts and starts to sizzle. Tilt pan to coat sides and bottom.
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and combine quickly, using as few strokes as possible. Scrape the batter into prepared pan. Bake until cornbread is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool a few minutes and slice into wedges to serve. Serves 8.
Printable Recipe

*The daughter of writers Charlotte Zolotow and the late Hollywood biographer Maurice Zolotow, Crescent Dragonwagon writes "Nothing is wasted on the Writer" on Typepad. 

A fun look into her amazing life...


  1. See what you made me do! I just ordered both. I am trying out Amazon's new Prime deal for a month so got both books for under $14 and no shipping.

    I love cookbooks and gardening books.

    Both recipes sound good. I make my cornbread a lot sweeter. I will soon find out if that makes me a northern or southern cornbread person.

    Have I told you that is a beautiful header picture....

  2. Glenda, you are going to love these cookbooks! Crescent Dragonwagon has written several, all good. My cornbread recipe is very similar to hers, we eat corn in some form nearly every day...grits, cornmeal or popcorn! Isn't it great that Amazon is just a click away?

  3. Soup and cornbread - now that's my kind of meal!

  4. I love cornbread with Chili! YUMMY! It's going to be chilly here over the weekend, so I'll be busy in the kitchen!...:)JP

  5. Love the video and I am going to check out those books!!!


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